Sometimes opportunities surprise us. That’s what happened when long-time CVA teacher Becky Gregerson was encouraged by CVA Principal Dave Vail to apply for a part-time position teaching Kindergarten at Valley School last summer – but he also wanted her to continue working for CVA. Becky explained that she thought teaching part-time in two very different programs in the district would not be an option, but administrators were on board with the idea. She was again surprised after the interview process to be offered the position and an opportunity to get back in a traditional classroom. Now nearing the end of a fast-paced year, she feels the experience provided the “best of both worlds” by allowing her to stay connected with the CVA families she has grown to love while trying something new.
In both the Valley School traditional program and the online learning environment of CVA, Becky stressed that, “we are looking to provide the education best suited for the student. Kids each learn in different ways, and my time at CVA has really shown me how a different environment plays a part as well as the student’s learning style.” When comparing the differences between teaching in a classroom and in a distance learning program, Becky exclaimed, “At CVA I get to hear from parents and students about their ‘light bulb moments,’ when everything clicks for the student. In the kindergarten classroom, I get to see those moments. For me, that’s why I got into education – to see those moments and to light that fire for learning.”
Becky admits that juggling varied responsibilities and two working environments has been interesting at times. “Some days it feels like I have two full time jobs. Luckily the scheduling has worked out well for me to be connecting with CVA students in the mornings and then be at Valley School in the afternoon.” Mid-year adjustments in the kindergarten program, however, tested her time management skills, and she found herself putting in time at odd hours to meet the needs of her CVA families. Fortunately, flexibility is an option in an alternative learning environment. Becky teases, “All the crazy moments have been worth it, although I didn’t get the zip line between the buildings I’ve wanted from the beginning!”
Increases in student enrollment and a reduction in K-3 class sizes has opened a full-time teaching position in kindergarten next year, and Becky shared that she plans to stay in the traditional program. “I feel like kindergarten is where I am meant to be. I have loved every single day – even the really hard days!” Next year Becky will again team up with long-time kindergarten teacher Shana Morgan, with each providing core instruction in their own classrooms in the morning, and then all students coming together in the afternoons under Becky’s tutelage to round out studies in other areas. “I feel this arrangement speaks volumes about the value we place, as a district, on early learning and giving kids the solid foundation needed for the rest of their schooling. And a bonus is being able to coordinate with our on-site preschool to be more prepared for our students as they begin the year.”
Becky, who has taught in CVA since 2007, reflects, “This year has been amazing. I have felt so supported in this new position, and both staff at CVA and Valley School have been encouraging. I am appreciative of the administration for letting me try this, and for being the first to teach in two buildings. I hope to see more teachers utilized in this way in the district.”